Considerations for Faculty Launching or Joining Ventures

Below are some important things to consider as you plan the commercialization of your technology or pursue a business idea.

Protecting Intellectual Property

Researchers are encouraged to contact the Office of Technology Licensing as early as possible in the discovery process to ensure protection of intellectual property. Report a novel discovery or development to the Office of Technology Licensing at least two business days prior to public disclosure so that we can: 

  • Accurately establish inventorship and ownership 
  • Determine what form of intellectual property is involved 
  • Evaluate its commercial potential and patentability  

We offer an easy-to-use online Web Disclosure system to report discoveries and innovations—including the information from the researcher’s prior art search

Report or Update Outside Activities

Conflict of Interest Management

Commercialization - especially startup formation - can introduce conflicts of interest or conflicts of commitment for Georgia Tech inventors. Georgia Tech recommends early consultation with the Conflict of Interest Management Team (Office of General Counsel) to ensure that potential conflicts are appropriately managed and do not interfere with our goal of bringing your innovation to market. Early discussions help to clarify processes related to the continuation of research, collaborations, licensing, financial considerations, clinical trial participation, and adherence to Georgia Tech policies.

Understanding Time Commitments

For those interested in launching their own company, first-time entrepreneurs frequently underestimate the time and intellectual commitment required to successfully launch a new venture. The burden of these commitments has the potential to adversely impact a faculty member’s or student’s university work. The best guidance on how or even whether to balance these activities comes from those who have done it before. Connect with VentureLab help navigating these topics.

PI Eligibility

Anticipating Impacts of Changes in Commitments / Employment Status / Leave of Absence

When Georgia Tech researchers reduce their commitment or employment status (or take a leave of absence for 90 days or more) at Georgia Tech, there can be consequences to obligations to other grants, contracts, and sponsored activities, including that employee's eligibility to remain as a Principal Investigator or Project Director on sponsored research projects. Be aware of the PI Eligibility policy at Georgia Tech, as well as expectations of / obligations to your sponsors. For assistance, reach out to your Contracting Officer at the Office of Sponsored Programs before changing your commitment (or taking a leave of absence for 90 days or more) at Georgia Tech.

Georgia Tech Faculty Roles in Startup Companies

An important immediate question for Georgia Tech inventors is whether they want to be involved directly as part of the company team or to hand off these tasks to professional entrepreneurs and continue in their roles as Georgia Tech faculty, research staff, or students. To evaluate potential conflicts of commitment, it is recommended that researchers engage the Conflict of Interest Management team as well as direct supervisors and Associate Deans for Research and take a proactive approach to planning your commitments to both Georgia Tech and any outside venture.